Thursday, July 16, 2009

Statue of Charles Tandy moved to TCU this morning

Charles Tandy arrived early, about 8 a.m., wrapped like a corpse. His trademark stogie still dangled between two fingers. His other hand was shoved confidently in his pocket.

It was moving day.

After the harnesses strapped around his head and groin were removed, the 8-foot bronze likeness of the late Tandy Corporation founder and Fort Worth philanthropist was secured in its new home on the west side of Tandy Hall early this afternoon. It took a forklift ride from the street and a four-hour, labor-intensive process to turn him into position, drill holes for his base and lower him onto his new perch.

Once he got situated, he stood with authority overseeing the lawn between Tandy Hall and the Tucker Technology Center, seemingly right at home. The statue will be officially dedicated in September.

"Great cities need great universities," said O. Homer Erekson, dean of the Neeley School of Business. "Charles Tandy was a giant who helped build this great community, and the Neeley School aspires to the kind of great institution that would honor Mr. Tandy's legacy. We're tremendously honored to have the statue of his likeness here on the TCU campus."

The statue had spent almost three decades of gazing northward across the Trinity River from its longtime vantage point in Paddock Park behind the Tarrant County Courthouse. On July 7, it was removed for restoration and cleaning before arriving on campus.

Artist Jim Reno sculpted the $300,000 statue 28 years ago; it was a gift to Fort Worth from the Burnett-Tandy Foundation, which Anne Burnett Tandy established after her husband’s death in 1978.

Though it has been moved, the statue remains in the Fort Worth Public Art collection and is owned by the city. A $30,000 grant from the Burnett-Tandy Foundation is paying for moving expenses and reinstallation. The foundation chipped in $3,000 more for maintenance and preservation work for its first years at TCU, according to Jenny Conn, collection manager for Fort Worth Public Art.

TCU and the city are still negotiating costs for ongoing maintenance, Conn said, amounting to about $700 every 12 to 16 months. Every seven years, the statue requires a coat of preservative for around $1,500.

The university is providing the design, engineering and fabrication of the new pedestal, as well as lighting and any landscaping or irrigation modifications needed after the installation.

This report contains material from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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